National News

Qld extends border bubble 100km into NSW

Queensland will shift its border zone 100km further south from next weekend, throwing open the door to residents in five more NSW council areas including Byron Bay.

Residents of Byron Shire, Ballina, the city of Lismore, Richmond Valley including Casino and Evans Head, Glen Innes and 41 other NSW postcodes will be added to the Queensland-NSW border bubble from 1am on October 1.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says 152,000 more NSW residents will be able to travel freely in her state and Queensland residents will also be able to visit far northern NSW.

"These areas have a lot in common with Queensland," she said.

"They usually do a lot of their business in Queensland so we believe that this is the right measure to take and we have also been in contact with the NSW authorities to advise them of this today as well."

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said it was safe to extend the border bubble because there had been no new cases of COVID-19 in the NSW border areas, or north of Sydney, for quite a while.

She said travel restrictions on residents from wider NSW, including Sydney, would be reviewed at the end of the month.

Dr Young's office is keeping a close eye on the recent case of a taxi driver who worked while possibly infectious in western Sydney.

The announcement of NSW border changes come as Queensland prepares to welcome ACT travellers back up north on Friday.

The border will open only to Canberrans who arrive by plane and anyone coming from NSW via the ACT will have to wait 14 days before being allowed to fly.

Queensland recorded no new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 9am on Tuesday and 12 days have passed since there was a case of community transmission.

The state has just 16 active cases on Tuesday, clustered around Ipswich in the southeast.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said Queensland was just two days away from possibly relaxing gathering restrictions on people in Brisbane and seven other council areas. At present, only 10 people can meet in homes without a COVID-safe plan.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington welcomed the extension of the border bubble but questioned whether the decision was made based on medical advice or opinion polling before the October 31 state election.

"Which is it?" she asked.

"It's inconsistent messages coming from the premier of Queensland."

© AAP 2020